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Importance of Fuel Filters on Cars

9/6/2013 12:59:50 PM | by Anonymous

Filters: Fuel

Fuel filters are filters that are commonly found in internal combustion engines in vehicles. They are meant to filter out impurities such as rust and dirt from fuel as the fuel pump pumps it towards the engine. This is important because impurities found in fuel can affect the performance of a vehicle and keep it from running smoothly. In the engine, pistons compress air and fuel at extremely high pressures; any particle inside the engine could clog the fuel injectors or rapidly wear down the fuel pump and injectors. Contaminants in the fuel also cause it to be burnt less efficiently, reducing the performance of the car. A clogged fuel filter reduces the fuel reaching the engine and could keep a vehicle from running altogether, so it is recommended that maintenance is carried out at regular intervals. Some filters have spring-loaded bypasses that allow fuel to still pass into the engine if the filter becomes clogged, but this might cause additional problems due to the contaminants in the engine.


A filter pump is usually placed along the fuel lines, in between the fuel tank and pump. Depending on the vehicle, the fuel filter is either in the engine compartment or by the fuel tank, underneath the vehicle. There are different types of fuel filters that suit the needs of different engines.


In carbureted engines, fuel is sucked to the engine using the principle of vacuum, so the pressure in the system is fairly low. As such, rubber hoses that are resistant to fuel are used as inlets and outlets to the fuel filter and held in place with circular clamps. Carbureted engines are found in car brands such as Ford, Hitachi and Chrysler.


In vehicles that use electronic fuel injection, the pressure is very high. Thus, metal is used to make the fuel lines they are screwed onto the fuel filter through threaded fittings, or the fuel filter is placed in a low-pressure area and rubber hoses are also used. This kind of system can be found in brands such as Mercedes, Nissan and Toyota.


In diesel engines, the filter is bowl-shaped, which allows water to collect at the base so it can be easily drained away till only diesel remains in the bowl due to water being denser than diesel. This is especially important in diesel engines as diesel is used to lubricate certain parts of the engine and if water were to get into those it would cause overheating and more wear and tear.


The way that fuel filters are installed also differs. Some are attached using clips, others use threaded fittings as stated above while others use spring-loaded locks. In other vehicles, the fuel filter is not replaceable and if it needs replacing, everything will also have to be replaced.


It is important to regularly replace and maintain the fuel filter. It is recommended that the filter be replaced at least once every two years, or as frequently as every 19 312 kilometers. It is relatively inexpensive to replace the filter, as compared to changing parts such as the fuel pump, which probably will need changing if the fuel filter becomes clogged. For filters that are connected simply, they can be replaced by yourself but for more complicated set-ups you should go to a mechanic.


The common signs that the fuel filter is in need of changing are the engine taking longer to start up, the engine stalling while driving or waiting at red lights, the engine not responding when you try to accelerate, the car using more fuel than usual or the engine misfiring, causing a change from the usual sound the car engine makes while driving.

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